Legislative frameworks that allow enjoyment of the right to social accountability
Right to social accountability is the right to demand and being given fundamental rights by the state. Fundamental rights are the human needs and other rights that are not limited to political leadership terms. Right to social accountability allows the public to question performance of public officials with regard to management of the public goods and resources and it insists a culture of demanding duty bearers to explain and justify decisions and actions of their performance toward realizing human needs and capability. To enjoy right to social accountability, any democratic state should establish independent institutions to oversee the performance, decisions and actions of the duty bearers when serving the public. Generally, right to social accountability is the right to enjoy best service delivery due to effective and efficient management of the public goods and resources.
Constitutional and legislative frameworks that exists in the country
There are various constitutional and legislative provisions in Tanzania that allows the public to enjoy the right to social accountability. Tanzania like many other African countries has ratified various human rights commitments to ensure good governance and respect of human rights. This also includes self-assessment of compliance with governance political, economic, and social and inclusion of views from various non-governmental stakeholders and the citizens.
The following are the constitutional and legislative framework that exists:
The Tanzania Development Vision 2025
In 1980’s the Tanzanian development policies and strategies were not effective in ensuring best service delivery to its communities. To tackle the situation, the government formulated national long-term development philosophy and direction namely The Tanzania Development Vision to ensure social economic rights of Tanzanians are realized.
The objective of the current vision, which ends in 2025, is to promote, direct and coordinate the people’s efforts, minds and national resources towards core sectors that will enable the country to attain development goals. The attributes that are envisioned by the development strategy are: high quality livelihood, strong and competitive economy, well-educated and learning population, good governance and peace, stability and unity.
United Republic of Tanzania (URT) Constitution
There are various articles in the Constitution that are directly guaranteeing right to social accountability, includes:
Article 63 (2) gives power to the parliament on behalf of the people to oversee and advise the government and all its organs in the discharge of their respective plans.
Article 63 (3) states that, the National Assembly may summon and ask any question to any Minister concerning public welfare in the country within his/her responsibility. The MPs can debate performance of any Ministry during the annual budget session and authorize or disapprove any long or short term plans.
The Article 132 establishes a Public Leaders’ Ethics Secretariat that will hold the public officials to account for their behavior and conduct. The basic ethics provisions outlined to guide the public officials includes:
Formal declaration from time to time concerning their income, assets and liabilities;
Prohibit conduct and behavior which portray a leader as dishonest, practices favoritism or lacks integrity, or which tends to promote or encourage corrupt practices in public affairs or jeopardizes public interest or welfare;
Prescribe penalties which may be imposed for breaches of the code of ethics;
Prescribe any other provisions as are appropriate or necessary for the purpose of promoting and maintaining honesty, transparency, impartiality and integrity in the conduct of public affairs and for the protection of public funds and any other public property;
Parliament may, by law, provide for the dismissal or removal of a person from office for breaches of the code of ethics regardless of whether the office is elective or appointive.
Article 129 establishes The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance which its main function is to oversee implementation of good governance and respect of the human rights.
Article 143 gives Controller and Auditor General (CAG) powers to ensure that all the moneys the payment of which has been authorized to be charged on the Consolidated Fund, or the moneys the use of which has been authorized by a law and which have been spent, have been applied to the purposes connected with the use of such moneys and that such expenditure has been incurred in accordance with the authorization for such expenditure.
The Public Finance Act 2001
The public finance regulations came into effect in 2005; it provides a legal framework regarding the revenue collection, budget management and expenditure as well as accountability. Regulation 4 of the Act stipulates that:
Every accounting officer shall be personally and pecuniarily responsible and accountable for the collection and receipt of all revenue or for all disbursements of the expenditure in his vote, and shall be answerable to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Regulation 4 of the Act clearly needs the public accounting officers to be accountable for their decisions and actions regarding the public revenue. The oversight committee namely The Public Accounts Committee can give sanctions to the default accounting officers or the board of the directors.
The Public Procurement Act 2004
The Act establishes a Public Procurement Regulatory Authority. One among many functions of the Authority is to monitor performance of the Public Procurement Systems in the URT and advice on necessary changes. The Authority has the power to collect any information, documents or reports in respect of public procurement processes where mismanagement of public resources has been claimed, reported or proven.
International human rights commitments ratified by Tanzania that allows for enjoyment of the right to social accountability
African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR)
Tanzania ratified ACHPR in 1984. This is a treaty which promotes human rights and protection. The charter assures numerous rights include: Civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural and third economic rights such as right to economic, social and cultural development. The Charter also guarantees social and economic rights (rights to health, education and property)
International Covenant for Social Economic and Cultural Rights (ICSECR)
The ICSECR was ratified by Tanzania in 1978. The ICSECR assures a wide range of rights such as; the right to self-determination (Article 1(1)), right to social accountability (Article 2 (1)), economic right (Article 2(3)), equal rights of men and women (Article 3), right to economic, social and cultural development (Article 6 (2)), and right to an adequate standard of living (Article 11(1)).
Article 2 (1) states that:
‘Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures’.
The article obliges the state through various national international or regional co-operations to use to the maximum of its resources and public goods to realize the rights of the citizens.
Article 11(1) of ICESCR states that:
‘The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right, recognizing to this effect the essential importance of international cooperation based on free consent.
The article obliges the state to take steps to enable its citizens to have adequate standard of living. The state needs to manage and utilize its resources to the maximum to ensure the communities have access to adequate food, shelter and housing.